Back to School Town Hall: Answering your questions on the return to the classroom

Back to School: Facts First

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — As local school districts prepare for a potential return to more in-person learning, many parents, students, and educators have lingering questions about what will go into the process.

That’s why we’re hosting a Back to School Thursday at 5:30 p.m. We’ll take viewer-submitted questions right to a panel of local health and education experts — including Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza, and Rush-Henrietta Cental School District Superintendent Bo Wright— focusing on what parents need to know as students return to the classroom.

It’s been more than a year since local schools had full-time in-person learning, and instruction will look a lot different.

You can submit your questions to us via email at newsroom@wroctv.com, through our Facebook, or Twitter.

Your Coronavirus Facts First Questions:

Kathleen C. — Other than the fact that elementary students do not change classrooms during their school day, why would local leaders decide to target the one group of children who have not yet had access to vaccines to go back to crowded classrooms , cafeterias and busses?

Laura B. — Weren’t the original back to school guidelines six feet or a mask? How does that guidance differ from three feet and a mask? 

Kathleen C — At this point in the school year, there really is no other option than for parents to agree to their elementary child to return to school 5 days a week to classrooms full of kids. Choosing to switch to the virtual  “option” would be quite upsetting to their educational process this late in the school year. Are school leaders really considering the social- emotional health of elementary students by making these forced changes this late? 

Laura B. — Daycares currently do not require children to wear a mask. Why is the guidance different from daycare to school? Our five year old twins have not worn a mask or difference at their daycare and there has not been any spread of the coronavirus. 

Laura B. — Why are many schools still focusing on disinfecting surfaces when the CDC released that soap and water is just as good and the virus does not spread via surfaces?

Laura B. — Why does the World Health Organization not recommend that children under 11 wear masks and we are requiring our children to be masked all day. Are we concerned about the developmental impact of masking young children all day will have on their development? Has there been a push from child advocates to change the Universal masking policy in our schools as there is no data to support there is significant child to child/child to teacher spread and the majority of our educators are vaccinated?

Laura B. — Do local school leaders see a return to “normal” school for next school year? Are they advocating to the state for the well being of our children?

Kathleen C — What motivated the school leaders to bend to a strong push from a few radical parents to alter the educational model for K-5 learners this late in the academic year? In media circles, Superintendents represented the situation as “most parents want to return to full classrooms this year” when behind closed doors, the same leaders admitted that the “silent majority” of parents preferred to keep things as they are until June, so as not to disrupt the education of their children and keep them safe?

Anonymous — I have three questions …

  1. What happens if school doesn’t follow guidelines and has two kids per seat on the bus not from the same household?
  2. Are schools supposed to monitor the daily attendance that parents submit?
  3. What about ventilation in schools? More kids in rooms and school windows only open a few inches. Our school has said kids can wear neck fans — doesn’t that just spread their germs around?

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